The never-ending epilogue to today’s message

Sometimes you just need to get something off your chest, so this is today’s lament – bear with me.

I received an email today. The substance of the message was contained in five words, three of which were ‘kind regards’ and a name. Nevertheless, despite this admirably concise communication, the email was, according to my computer, 190 KB in size, and if I had printed it (which I didn’t) it would have covered almost two entire pages.

Why was this? Because the organisation to which my correspondent belonged automatically inserts one hell of a ‘signature’ at the foot of every email sent. This contains a long and hugely convoluted formula telling us for what the organisation concerned does or does not (mostly not) accept legal liability, and what you or I should do if we were to stumble upon the email without being the intended recipient. It then adds a paragraph about the organisation itself, not sparing some considerable detail in praising its no doubt wonderful achievements. It then adds a whole lot of contact information, at which point you find that the organisation has offices in six countries around the world, all of which are set out in some detail. It then repeats some of all this is another language. And, finally, it inserts into the signature a number of images with logos, a photo of its head office, and some graphics the meaning and purpose of which rather eluded me.

This is perhaps a particularly bad case of this kind of genre, but it is by no means unique. Some of these add-ons have been pressed upon organisations by our friends the lawyers, who seem to think that we must all insert endless legal exemption and non-liability clauses into emails that no one ever thought were or are necessary in letters. Others have been prompted by the perceived need to let no electronic communication pass without lots of PR stuff chucked in.

My strong wish for 2018 and beyond that people stop doing this. Really, stop. Give it up.

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3 Comments on “The never-ending epilogue to today’s message”

  1. Vincent Says:

    My worry is that they insert trojans that can poke about on your system. Or that they can be erased remotely. Sometimes, especially when dealing with the State emails are your only record.
    Mind you I wonder if having a chat with the privacy commissioner or the advertising one might be the route to go.

  2. Regina Says:

    It’s definitely up there with unwanted ads. So when I click on the blog, lo! there’s info on the last search I made on a travel website consuming 50% of the viewing window. Rant away!

    • Vincent Says:

      You need to regularly dump your history. And especially so if you are buying anything that you have to buy in ones, like concert tickets and flights. Possibly trains too.


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